UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

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Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward.

In the lead, Bryan Thrift waylaid 22 pounds, 6 ounces of largemouths up north. Behind him, the weights are still pretty stout, with three other pros cracking the 20-pound barrier and five other pros edging past the 19-pound mark.

As usual on Champlain, wind is a concern going forward. Despite nearly perfect weather on day one, a pretty strong south wind is in the offing for Friday and Saturday. The forecast has been growing less severe as the week has gone on, but there’s a definite chance big wind and waves could wreck some plans as the week progresses.

Thrift's leading pattern 

Complete results

 

Brandt Tumberg

2. Brandt Tumberg – Moore, S.C. – 21-10 (5)

Just 22 years old, Brant Tumberg is fishing as a boater in the Costa FLW Series for the first time. Plopping 21-10 on the scale at Champlain is a pretty good way to start.

“I stayed north,” says Tumberg. “I had 18 pounds on my first spot with a topwater, and then I went flipping. I culled up two or three times, and I was done by 9 a.m.”

Catching all largemouths, Tumberg is decently optimistic about doing it again, and together with Thrift and Joe Wood, the top three could be on pace for some special things.

“I fished as a co-angler the past two years, so I felt fairly confident coming up here,” says Tumberg. “I feel okay about the topwater fish tomorrow, I don’t know if I can catch them as big, though. For flipping, I feel like I can catch them again too, but for three days it might dwindle. I caught the right ones fast, but they were all small after that.”

 

Joseph (Joe) Wood

3. Joe Wood – Westport, Mass. – 21-9 (5)

But for a dead fish penalty, Joe Wood could be in second place. As is, the Northern Division regular is an ounce back and right in the hunt as usual.

Wood weighed five largemouths after making the long run to Ti.

“I had found a grass mat the other day in practice that must have had 100 fish in the school,” says Wood. “You’d get bit every single cast. Today I went there and didn’t get a single bite. I spent two hours trying to find them.

“I could not re-locate the school, so I just went junk-fishing down there,”” says Wood. “I ended up getting six bites, but they were the right ones. I caught three of them in the grass and two of them off hard structure.”

Given the chance to go again, Wood is ready to put his Ranger in the wind and roll back to Ti.

“I’m gonna go down again and spend the first hour or two trying to re-locate that school,” says Wood. “They’re there somewhere; I just missed them, and it’s lights-out if I can find them. The water was about 6 inches higher today, and I think the mat I was fishing just got flooded. They’re somewhere.”

 

Lee Black

4. Lee Black – Danville, Ala. – 20-5 (5)

Hailing from Alabama, Black is one of more than a few southern folks making waves this week on Champlain. Like Wood, he made the run to Ti as well, and had to bounce around between a handful of spots to get his fish.

“I was just fishing grass, making a lot of casts,” says Black. “They were here and there. You’d come up to a good patch of grass and catch two or three, but I had to work for them. They wouldn’t stack.”

Unlike Wood, he’s not entirely committed to the south end. If it’s rough in the morning and blowing out of the south, Black says he had a good enough practice up north that he’s happy to give it a try.

 

Jimmy Kennedy

5. Jimmy Kennedy – Plainfield, Vt. – 19-15 (5)

He was planning on catching a lot of smallmouths, but Jimmy Kennedy ended up adapting his way to a big bag of north-end largemouths on day one.

“I caught one smallmouth today fishing a largemouth spot, and then I lost maybe my personal best largemouth today on a smallmouth spot,” says Kennedy of his topsy-turvy day. “I could not get the smallmouth to go – I went to my very best spot and I was catching like 8-inch smallmouths. I didn’t really have much going on for largemouths, so I just fished some history.”

Kennedy has plenty of history on Champlain, and a mix of grass with a little rock turned out to be a gold mine for him on the largemouth front. However, he’s not one to simply abandon the brown ones.

“Hopefully the smallies are going to turn on tomorrow,” says Kennedy. “We’re supposed to have more wind. I’m going to start on the largemouth tomorrow, but I’m going to run smallie water again for sure.”

Tags: jody-white  headline-story  2019-07-18-lake-champlain 

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